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“The people are Rich...in personality.”
Review of Samana Province

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atlanta, ga
1 review
10 helpful votes
“The people are Rich...in personality.”
Reviewed March 15, 2009

I guess I'm giving Samana an "above average" score due to the fact that I let down my guard and truly enjoyed the people of this province. Don't expect a Virgin Islands experience. Once you arrive at the simple port- there are many locals with their motorcycles and rickshaws waiting for the tourists. My husband and I were with another couple. Across the street was a restaurant that we went to in order to talk to the local restauranteurs and ask "who could be trusted". After a beer and assurance that we would be treated well- we ended up with a lovely man named Beato and his rickshaw. Fortunately, I knew enough Spanish for an elementary conversation. We wanted an "authentic" Dominican scene- not the tourist thing. He drove us over a mountain to a wonderful little bar named "Amnesia" that overlooks the Bay where whales frequent. We stayed nearly 2 hours speaking to the locals- and ran into some US servicemen who are currently stationed there. Then we went further down the road where a woman, Isabella, and her sons took us for a mile walk into the woods basically on a "nature" tour. We saw a variety of local wild and plantlife, ending at the beautiful waterfalls of the Chocolate River. Probably not the average "tourist" thing- but we all thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the kindness of the people- of course tipping them graciously. There is plenty of shopping at the port. The country side is full of abject poverty- this must be the poorest place I have ever seen- but wonderful people and it appears they are trying hard to become a tourist attraction- I wish them the best. Not a place for the posh, but definitely a place for people persons.

Helpful?
10 Thank kastycosmos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Jersey
Level 3 Contributor
22 reviews
54 helpful votes
“Worst cruise port in 20 cruises!”
Reviewed January 26, 2009

This is the worst cruise port I have ever been to. There is abject poverty and nothing to do unless you go an hour away to some beach which is stillconsidered unsafe. I questioned Royal Caribbean as to why they added to their ports instead of La Romana and they said it was a fuel consideration. I guess that tey haven'tfond out about the drop in fuel costs. We will not even get off the ship as we will have nine of us with 3 children and won't take a chance with them. The taxis are open wagons pulled by motorcycles and the place stinks. Thebeggers are all over you. Skip this port and complain to te cruise line for stopping there.

Helpful?
45 Thank DickSNewJersey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ontario
1 review
8 helpful votes
“Best trip of our life!”
Reviewed November 25, 2008

I don't usually write reviews but sure do read them on Trip Advisor before going anywhere! We have just returned from our second trip to the Samana Peninsula in the Dominican Republic. We have stayed twice at the Gran Bahia Principe El Portillo. It offers perhaps the best deal for your dollar.....the junior suites are beautiful (try to book villa 1) and the service is second to none for an all inclusive. The food is good and plentiful, but some complained about variety. but hey--lots of fresh fruit, vegetables and really what do you expect---5 star dining for 900 bucks?

For the second year we rented an ATV. The hotel must have an arrangement with one rental place in Las Terrenas, and they will arrange for your rental to show up at the resort and be picked up there. We paid $192 (US) for 5 days and on the fifth day traded it in for a Terrios (a small car/SUV). Be prepared to give up your licence for the duration of the rental--so perhaps best to arrange for pick up the day before you fly out just to be sure. The rental people usually don't show up till about 9:30, so if you have an early flight you may be out of luck. Talk about honesty...we paid 50 dollars difference to trade in the ATV for the car....and when we returned it they gave us back 15 dollars because we had over paid! A pleasant and unexpected surprise.

If you like to explore take off into Las Terrenas and find Playa Bonita. It's quiet, great waves and peaceful. Surf boards and lessons can be found at Hotel Acaya on the beach and you MUST have lunch/dinner at the Acaya restaurant. It puts any 5 star restaurant here to shame. Service is great, food is superb and view is stunning!

Playa Cosson is another great beach--however it was raining when we were there and very windy so our stay was quite short. The trip to both beaches is half the adventure as you will see, smell and experience local life!

Perhaps the most beautiful beach is Playa Moron---down a rugged country road past El Limon. Spectacular beauty--a true paradise. Just be wary of the locals as they will pester you at the four corners in El Limon and then take you to the beach where they will try to sell you lobster or beer for way more than it's worth. The path into the beach is either through a private entrance (you must have a local guide and it will cost) or through a mud bog, so either walk it or take an ATV, and you don't need a guide. Truly worth the time and recommended to all visitors of Samana.

Finally when we traded in our ATV on the last day for the car we travelled to Samana. The drive was fantastic and we hiked it over to Playa Rincon. One of the Dominican's most famous beaches we were expecting more but it is secluded and peaceful...but the beach (at least when we were there---but keep in mind we had 3 days of rain and high wind) the beach was covered in a line of garbage. Just wear your sandals and enjoy. Again, the trip to this beach is worth it!


Of course, with travelling, you need to be careful and smart. Don't wear flashy jewellery or take a lot of cash. If you are travelling off the resort convert your US money to pesos as they are easiest to deal in. The locals can be pushy but not annoyingly so and a firm no, and gracias is good enough for most. Knowing Spanish is a bonus.....off the resort English speaking residents are few and far between.

other great things to do---explore Las Terrenas--the shopping is okay for souvenirs and the experience of walking in the city is fun! The walk back down the beach toward El Portillo is clean, pretty and a good stretch for the legs.

Enjoy!

Helpful?
8 Thank DR-ers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Riverside, California
Level 5 Contributor
65 reviews
85 helpful votes
“Save your money on this city -”
Reviewed November 12, 2008

We just returned from a Jazz Cruise where they added Samana due to island damage on the Turks and Caicos due to a hurricane.

We got off the boat and headed to Playa Las Terrenas that is recommended on a Fodor's book. We should have known that the beaches in this resort are were a problem when the taxi driver walked us down to the beach. There was alot of men just hanging out in the late morning during the week .

The beach had about 3 or 4 bars and eating places with some sand chairs. There were dirty diapers on the beach, and my husband found a hypodermic needle by our chairs. It appears that drugs are a big problem on this island.

We had many locals peddling their goods - and one guy just came up and asked for us to give him money. He was blatently high on something.

We decided to leave the area at this time. We found when we got on the ships tender that all the cruisers had similar incedents. This cruise stop became the joke of the ships entertainers unfortunately. So I am sorry to say that Samana has a ways to go before tourism will be solid - I would never go there again.

Helpful?
19 Thank Cinnamoncyndi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
town of vernon wisconsin
Level 4 Contributor
24 reviews
33 helpful votes
“i would never go there again”
Reviewed April 23, 2008

We were recently on an NCL cruise which include Samana.
We book and excursion for Whale watching. That was really
fun, but most people on the boat were sick.
Then we decided to go into the town on Samana.
Bad choice, we were immediatly over run by Vendors.
They have these motorcycles with a rickshaw type seat
that they pull. $30.00 an hour. They separated me from
my husband before i could explain the price to him.
He was being told it was $15. long story short? We went
and they stalled and went over the hour ,after i kept reminding
them of the time. they made us pay an extra $15 for going over the hour. Being in a foreign country we chose not to make a scene. we left and will never return there.

Helpful?
11 Thank jeanette l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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